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Oklahoma State Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgorsen - Bo Pelini's Offensive-Minded Twin?

Right after writing an article about how Oklahoma State reminds me of the Little Engine That Couldn't, I'm going to tell you that Mike Gundy might have made one of the best offseason decisions in the nation. Gundy did what a lot of coaches won't do - he gave up control of a part of his program because he realized he couldn't keep up with the pressure of being a full-time head coach while simultaneously serving as its offense coordinator. 

Gundy solved his problem by hiring Dana Holgorsen to take over as offensive coordinator. Holgorsen is described as laid-back, as a younger-looking Jimmy Buffet, 

Holgorsen spent the previous two seasons at Houston where his offenses where amongst the top in the nation. Holgorsen's 2009 offense finished as the national leader in total offense (564 yards per game), scoring offense (42.2 points per game) and passing offense (433.7 yards per game).  He spent 2000-2007 at Texas Tech, his last three seasons as offensive coordinator under Mike Leach. Holgorsen and Leach have previous history, as Holgorsen played for Leach as a wide receiver at Iowa Wesleyan where Hal Mumme (of Air Raid offense fame) was head coach. Leach and Mumme moved on to Valdosta State, where Holgorsen joined them as an assistant coach. When Leach arrived at Texas Tech to become head coach, Holgorsen joined him. 

After all that, you'd expect Holgorsen's offense to mirror that of Leach at Texas Tech. One major difference, though - Holgorsen will run the ball much more often than Leach ever did. Before the season started, Holgorsen stated he'd look for a 60-to-40 pass to run percentage, but in the first six games, Oklahoma State has had 225 rushes for 1,046 yards, (4.65 ypc) and 243 pass attempts for 1,966 yards (8.9 ypa), a pass-to-run ratio of roughly 52-to-48 percent. 

Oklahoma State's offense could be considered more dangerous than Leach's ever was because of his willingness to adapt. The Cowboys came out with a new formation against Washington State,  featuring a full-house backfield (three backs) with running back Kendall Hunter lined up behind  quarterback Brandon Weeden, and running backs Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith lined up next to Hunter, but a step closer to the line - kind of an "inverted wishbone" look.


Another item to note about Holgorsen - his offense is as up-tempo as anyone's. The Cowboys have run 468 total plays through six games, averaging 78 plays per game. Compare that to Nebraska having run 363 plays through six games, averaging 60.5 per game. That's nearly a 25% difference,  like having the ball an extra quarter. 

Whatever Holgorsen is doing, it's been working. Oklahoma State is second nationally in total offense (535.5 ypg), third in passing (361 ypg), and 41st in rushing (174.33 ypg). As Mike pointed out earlier this week, wide receiver Justin Blackmon leads the nation in receiving by a huge margin (159 ypg), Hunter is fifth nationally (138.33 ypg), and Weeden is second in ypg (327.7), fifth in total yardage (1,966), ninth in completion percentage (68.9), and third in touchdowns with 19. 

So..... he and Bo Pelini are twins? Yeah, much like Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger, maybe they were separated at birth. 

Which one is Pelini? Which is Holgorsen? 
Holgorsen is easy going, laid-back. Pelini has been described as many things, but I doubt "laid back" has ever been one of them. Pelini has built the nation's best defense in pass defense and efficiency, Holgorsen is tearing up the air on offense. 

Pelini notes what his opponent is doing on offense and adjusts as the game goes on. Halgorsen does the same.

Halgorsen's offense and Pelini's defense - both guys look like mad scientist genius types - maybe they were created in a lab somewhere for the sole purpose of bringing us the best college football that science can create.